With the urban sprawl and gentrification in Nashville, abandoned buildings and even industrial areas where I might find what I’m looking for, are in short supply. I really have to keep my eye pealed for these locations and if I do find them, I must act fast. It often takes exploring outlying areas and keeping my feelers out when traveling anywhere. It becomes a sixth sense. I found this abandoned Nashville factory After first walking the back side of the factory along the train tracks, I saw it was all fenced in and overgrown. So I went back to a possible access point. Part of the fence by the street side had a big enough gap to get access to the grounds, so in I went.
This tucked in back area with debris and brush, despite the Winter season was the pot of gold. Complete with the cold air and musty smell that is indicative of abandoned buildings. I was loving the vibe, and this part was away from all civilization. Or so I thought!
Everything looked great up until the end when I had captured my fill. I saw lights burning inside through a window. Ok, it’s time to go and shoot another day. By then I had what I needed. So that makes that place abandoned-ish? Or it just looked abandoned from the back and side. I was fooled at first, but I hope you enjoyed this ish abandoned Nashville factory, lol.
I remember a late afternoon in early to mid December, walking my dogs to the mail dropbox a mile from my house. I texted my friend Jerry Winnett and said something like “Shit in a hat, I’m half a mile from home and on foot, and it’s raining” Later that day, December 11, 2016 to be specific, I heard the news about a local East Nashville church fire. Mid afternoon, about the time I was maybe two blocks away walking the dogs, the first fire was reported in basement level, and the fire department thought it was extinguished with minimal damage. Then several hours later, the whole church was ablaze and sadly, by then it was too late. The Eastminster Presbyterian Church became the burnt down East Nashville church that was no more.
The portable fencing was down, and this seemed like an opportune time for my friend Jerry Winnett and I to start here, on our abandoned building photo outing we do occasionally. The circumstances are sad, but both of us love to show people the character of a damaged and forgotten structure that will inevitably be razed. The antique sewing machine seemed like a random thing next to the building.
One thing Jerry and I talked about, the outside of abandoned or damaged buildings is always interesting. But the real character and test of the photographer’s ability is getting photos of the inside. I’ve photographed many abandoned buildings alone, but this was probably the worst shape building I’ve been inside. We both felt it was prudent to not go this one alone. It’s a completely different feel when inside one of these buildings.
The hanging electrical wires, broken and burned boards, the smell of burnt wood, nails, broken glass, there isn’t a safe spot in the building. Which is why they don’t want people in it. The feel of the wet air, wind, sound of crunching boards as you walk. feel of the broken boards and ashes under your feet as you try to keep your footing. All part of the experience. You really have to know the feel of what is under your feet and pick your battles wisely when inside. Part of making it a successful photo outing is knowing when it’s time to get out. Feeling the energy is what helps me get the most dramatic photos.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos of a once active community landmark. Now a piece of history, being a burnt down East Nashville church. Wishing the best to the leadership and congregation. Beauty and character still exists in it’s state of distress.
I had the pleasure of working with a traveling fine art model recently, Rebecca. It was a very cold night in December and it was just too cold and dark to use an abandoned building. So, I decided to follow up on the roadside motel concept. Nashville motel artistic nudes are a special thing.
Some might say, why not use this gorgeous curvy model to her full potential and find a boutique hotel or a fully furnished mansion. I would do that for private clients if that’s their vision, but it’s seldom my own vision to do something like that. As I see it, anyone can take a pretty photograph of a pretty model in a pretty location. I like texture and grit, character if you will. The whole experience added to the shoot. I had to fill out a guest registration card and do it through a window, and ring the buzzer for the man to come to the desk. To get a more dated and less corporate room and experience. Precisely the point. Rebecca found the wall heater, between the two of us, we figured out how to turn it to it’s highest setting.
The heater was comforting to her, I wasn’t going to interfere, just use that sweet spot and use it’s surroundings. But make them understated. Sure, in a fine art print competition, even subtle background traces are better to be avoided or removed. But that’s part of what gives the photos the vibe of the location. We created art, nude art, at grungy old motel, as most would call it. That is what helps me live up to self imposed challenges as an artist. And to use the canvas regardless of where.
Sometimes focusing on a certain feature and area helps define the photoshoot and provide some direction. I tried to focus on the upper vertebrae but couldn’t get the results I was looking for. That gives me something to do next time. All I knew going in was I had planned to do a film noir style artistic nude session and that happened. 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed these Nashville motel artistic nudes, as always, you’re welcome. 😀
In my travels to upstate New York to visit family at Thanksgiving, I found a couple abandoned houses and meat packaging plant that caught my interest. This particular house, I did not see a way in, and it was right off a main thoroughfare, so had to be happy with outside photos of this one.
And this next house, I was driving around with my best friend I grew up with since early high school years. As we admired the mountain views, it began to sleet a little. I spotted this abandoned cottage a ways off the road overgrown with briars and weeds. So we took the adventure and explored. It was awesome, the roof was caving in and getting inside was a breeze, once climbing over a pile of rubble and briars, ouch. But always worth it. I like to give people a little preview of what the experience is like, so they can picture themselves there. It takes a certain sub-culture to get into abandoned buildings. But there is such a story in each one.
I love these 1960’s – 1970’s appliances.
Especially this classic ice box!
As I was flying into Albany, we were at a low enough attitude where I could see the Tobin’s First Prize meat packaging plant. It looked abandoned! From what I hear, it had been for a long time. Even better for photos! I wasn’t going to pass on this opportunity! It was time to put my rusty Albany geography to work and go find it.
Once employing hundreds of people and being a thriving operation, you wouldn’t know it looking at the shambles it’s in now. But it has such character. I wish I could have gotten in, but it would have been SO dark.
I hope you enjoyed these photos of the abandoned houses and meat packaging plant. You’re welcome. 🙂
You’re in for a special treat. This is a follow up article for the last article with photos of the abandoned burned down motel. I was with Madison, who was my muse for the day and directed us to this fabulous location. She’s quite handy with special effects and theatrical makeup, as you are about to see with lots of photos! So, we took her skills and my dark vision and ability to use these weathered locations, and did a collaborative undead bride concept photoshoot.
Madison and I have explored abandoned houses together before, and it brought me great pleasure to see how much she appreciated the history and character of the locations that so many others would never get. Part of the fun is exploring and finding cool things, even though it’s code for me to never take anything. Madison found this cool skeleton key hanging on the wall, it even seemed to fit the door behind her but the fire and elements rusted the lock shut.
A burned and distorted frog / lizard stuffed animal, one of the ugliest things I’ve seen lol.
A little shutter drag never hurt anyone either. I hope you’ve enjoyed this undead bride concept photoshoot, keep your eye out for more work coming soon.
I was with Madison, a muse I was catching up with in Southern Kentucky, about an hour from Nashville. We were going to do some photos of her and perhaps use her special effects makeup skills for some conceptual work. But while she was getting her face on, I explored this remarkable abandoned burned down motor inn location we stopped at. I knew we struck gold here. It appeared to once be a classic motor in along the 2 lane road.
After doing my research, this classic motor inn opened up in around 1950. In those days, there were no interstates. Two lane roads like this one is how people got from city to city and state to state. Cars in those days didn’t have air conditioning, traffic was heavy and was harder to divert. There weren’t too many different ways to go. So these motor inns were a God sent to tired travelers. Over the years came the interstate systems, reduced two lane road traffic, and branded hotels, which put many of these classic motor inns out of business. This one closed about 10 years ago according to my research. In 2014, squatters accidentally set it on fire. The native limestone from a long gone quarry still stands.
That is what was left from the detached cottages from the front office. Many clues remain in the burnt part. Madison even found an old motel registration card that was still legible. I keep my shit together by leaving things as I find them and not taking anything no matter how small. I believe that good karma helps me maintain my good fortune with this dangerous type of photography. We kept thinking as awesome as it is now, before the fire would be even more awesome.
This lovely bead board still looks good!
I hope you’ve enjoyed photos of this abandoned burned down motor inn. Next, Madison around this property…stay tuned, and don’t look before bedtime! You’re welcome.
I grew up in a small village in New York, just outside the city, until I was finished with elementary school and moved around a bit. I can remember Summers where I would be gone for most of the day, doing something with my friends. We rode our bicycles everywhere, but we knew where we couldn’t go. I suppose it should be no surprise that my childhood fascination with abandoned places and weathered locations inspires me today.
My friends and I would ride our bikes by this old foundry a lot, and explore old industrial areas. There was a big expanse of nothing along side a grocery store that led to the railroad tracks that many of us used for transportation to get from the store to neighborhoods. I preface this with saying that none of us were bad kids, we were just curious and were testing boundaries, and often found adventure in oddly creative ways. One day my friend and I came up with this brilliant idea to go over to the railroad tracks and throw rocks at the passing trains. There was no hurting that train, but it seemed fun and like a release of energy, so we thought we were cool but not hurting anyone. Well, one day a state trooper pulled up and caught us gathering rocks and evidently someone saw us.
We were maybe 10 years old and scared out of our wits, the cop knew it. He got our names and talked about bringing us to our parents….we looked at each other and just about shit ourselves, lol! He asked us, are you ever going to do this again? We both simultaneously said “no way sir!” And looked at us…..what seemed like an hour of silence was maybe 5 seconds, and he said, get the hell out of here and don’t ever let me see you doing anything like this again, do you understand me? Once again, we both simultaneously said “yes sir” and we were gone in a flash. That lesson stuck with both of us. We are Facebook friends to this day, and although there is no more rock throwing, there is definitely exploration. I get my photos and leave things as I found it, that good karma is working so far. Even today, I still like to piece together what the place was used for and what life was like when it was in operation or inhabited. Never losing that childhood fascination with abandoned places and sense of creativity / imagination is an artist’s best asset.
I began talking with this adventurous client about doing a personalized intimate photoshoot at the lake. Going to the lake and boating / camping on the lake and it’s islands is a big part of her life. So, she wanted to commemorate that aspect of her life, as she is definitely nature’s child. So, with a little bit of back and forth inspiration, we planned to do some early morning artistic nudes at the lake!
It was a very early morning in early October, the weather was lovely. I enjoyed a nice ride to the location with the windows down listening to Third Eye Blind, to somehow inspire me to fully wake up. The stereotypical artist who hates morning is reality I’m afraid. But this was the best time before the riffraff populates the lake. It was a perfect day to enjoy some lovely nudes in nature, as the sun was starting to warm the day up moderately, and the Summer vibe was still there. By the time we hit the lake with her captain on pontoon boat, I felt energized by the water and the feeling of freedom in nature. I also forgot how much I hate morning, LOL. We started off at the cliffs which make up one of the islands. Except a couple remote fishermen, the lake was desolate.
There was a rusty chain tied to the cedar tree growing on the rocks, so of course we had to do something dark and grim, more conceptual art. You’re welcome.
We moved to this island, there was no one around. Though there was evidence of past campfires and cookouts, the island was ours for these moments. I wonder if they had ever been used in this way. She was all about being nude in nature and the lake definitely provided all of us some inspiration.
This last one reminds me of a flower child / hippie from the 1960’s or 70’s just becoming one with the elements, I really liked the mood and vibe. I hope you’ve enjoyed these artistic nudes at the lake.
I re-convened with a freelance model friend who needed a portfolio update. She seems to shine in outdoor and domestic settings, isn’t as much into abandoned spots as I am, LOL! So we decided to do this fun and difficult challenge. A residential setting intimate photoshoot. She shares a house with 2 others, and we thought we’d use it. Her room she was afraid wasn’t usable because it was an attic bedroom. I keep telling everyone, where there is a subject, there is a photograph. Light and compose around what you do and do not want to show of the setting. I like challenges because that is what keeps skills honed, and it will for both the photographer and subject. Here is a backyard shed that had some interesting texture.
Next we did some implied nude in a bedroom setting, for simple but sexy. Nothing but a camera, the two of us, and a Westcott Ice Light with barn doors. The key is to keep the flow of the hair and body natural, and not look contrived.
I like the playful energy, and intimate feel to these. I hope you enjoy this mini series with model Kaila 😀 You’re welcome.
This first anniversary intimate photoshoot commemorates a milestone, and was indeed a great photoshoot. This intimate collection offered a beautiful personal touch that this young lady is presenting as a gift to her husband. It’s their first anniversary and it seemed like yesterday that they got married. Life gets busy, careers and new living adjustments, new adventures, and making time to remember the joys of life. There is no more special gift with a strong personal touch than a gift of an intimate / boudoir photoshoot for her husband. She wanted an emphasis on the lines and curves of the body rather than the typical parlor look of traditional boudoir photos, so she came to me 🙂 She even included some of her bridal accessories.
Of course there were some that were implied nude and some of her face to add a personal touch, but those are for her husband’s eyes only. However, she graciously agreed to let me share a few of the more mysterious photos that would keep her anonymity. It’s my job as a fine art nude and intimate photographer to provide a fun, comfortable and discreet experience for the client and respect her wishes. I am glad to see people appreciate the simple and elegant form over props, and appreciate the soul, body, and it’s features.